Lets begin by being a little provocative.
In Matthew 4:19 Yeshua did NOT say “Follow me” … WHOAW … Steady on there! Read on before you go too far down the other road.
According to the Peshitta/Khabouris codices (Aramaic writings dating to around 140 AD – the earliest manuscripts purporting to quote His words in His native language, rather than later copies from Greek translations of (I guess) Aramaic!), He actually said (typed here phonetically) “Taw batray!”.
So, it should now be fairly easy to translate that into the English, yes? … No!
Because, like ALL translations, it is not that simple.
I moved to France seven years ago, without any real knowledge of the French language. And it has taken me this long to realise that it is not just a matter of translating English into French in my head. The secret is that I have to adopt my mind to THINK in French (to be like a Frenchman – if that were actually possible)… apart from having to learn all the complications of inter-language grammatical acrobatics … ARGH!
I am saying this is a whole ‘new’ opportunity to hear and understand (and act upon) the tasks Yeshua gave us to do by looking at His words in HIS language.
In this example He was being ‘imperative’ – giving a direct command. So far so good.
However, if we take the first ‘word’ ‘Taw’ and change it to the Hebrew Otiot we get two characters – Tau and Waw.
This is where it begins to get interesting because Tau and Waw, as a word, mean ‘Mark’ … which also happens to be the description of the final Hebrew ot ‘Tau’. This, I believe, has great implications, as you will see.
First, remember that Hebrew is a ‘doing’ language – each character or ot, and each word tends to be an action or function – manifesting the need to put the words into practice. So, ‘Mark’ has the sense of ‘make public’ or ‘declare a covenant’ or even ‘send out a signal’.
And if we look for the meaning of each ot, within the context of Yeshua’s challenge, we will find ourselves reading ‘publically make a covenant with me’ for Tau; and ‘pitch your tent (or commit yourselves totally) with me’ for Waw.
I get the intense feeling that this little word implores the hearer to both inwardly and outwardly commit, covenant, and signal to the world, that they adhere to Yeshua.
Surprisingly, this one word almost sounds like His command in its totality. But there is more!
‘Batray’ … now here is a very strange word (certainly, if I translate it into English), because all four otiot together have the meaning ‘last’ or ‘latter’. So I think that it applies to the idea of being ‘after’ or ‘behind’ or ‘at the last’.
Yet, if we then take each ot in relation to one another we get:
Beyt=Tent Tau=Sign Resh=First Yod=Action
In more detail:
Beyt is the exhortation to regard ourself as part of the family (in this case the family of Yeshua).
Tau instructs us to publicize this – marking it as a sign for others to see.
Resh pushes the point home to us to ensure that we put Him, and all that He reveals, first and foremost above ANYTHING of the world.
Yod simply activates all the above making it all imperative … DO IT NOW!
There is something else here.
The first word ‘Taw’ happens to stand for the last Hebrew character of their alephbeyt. And ‘batray’ also means ‘last’. So, strangely, there is the last Hebrew character next to a word that means ‘last’.
Recently I looked at Yeshua declaring (in the English translation) “I am the First and the Last”. But when I went to the Aramaic, what He appeared to be saying was “I am the Origin and the FULFILMENT”
Here is an amazing but subtle difference. I have never been happy with the idea of ‘last’ or ‘end times’. I have always preferred to see such things as ‘the beginning’ of our perception of eternity, and the ‘fulfilment’ of time and space. So, not the end or the last of things, but the introduction to the eternal supernatural – true reality. Does that make sense?
So, if I replace ‘last’ or ‘after’ with ‘fulfilment’ to Yeshua’s command, it seems to embrace a far-reaching idea that by ‘following’ Yeshua we attain fulfilment – that is to see what is ahead – but is to be experienced IN US NOW … that is IF we agree (or chose) to obey Him … NOW.
So … are you?